A $60,000 grant from the Wal Mart Foundation is helping the United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley to help others.
It’s the third year for their “Let’s Start Fresh” program that provides fresh fruits and vegetables to organizations that in turn help those in need.
Twenty-two organizations are signed up this year–everything from soup kitchens to day cares to food pantries.
“So these agencies, if they spend a hundred dollars on fresh fruits and vegetables, they send us their receipts and we in turn will cut them a check to reimburse them,” explained Angela Goodson, executive director of Information Hotline.
For instance, the Feeding Body and Soul Community Kitchen in Moundsville serves 175 to 200 people a day.
“We are able to help people,” said Sandy Yoho. “If they can come and get food from us, they can use their money to pay utility bills and buy medicine.”
There’s one rule: it must be fresh fruits and vegetables, nothing frozen or canned.
And they’d like to see them buy from local gardens and stores.
“We would prefer they do it locally versus a chain store but of course Wal Mart gave us the grant, so they can also go to Wal Mart and spend their money,” said Goodson.
The Seeing Hand Association’s community garden on Wheeling Island offers some variations.
You can request a particular crop for next year, like tomatoes , peppers or green beans.
You can ask for garden advice, or even ask for a plot of your own in the garden.
They’ll even deliver, and share some recipes.
“This program not only provides fresh fruits and vegetables, but also teaches people how to eat more healthy so it’s going to have a long term positive effect on the whole area,” said George Smoulder, executive director of the United Way of the Ohio Valley.